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cities tech cities

Global Tech Cities: Seattle

Brian Cagayat • 8/16/2022

The Catalyst

The Seattle market has been an established tech market for decades, dating back to the relocation of Microsoft’s HQ to Redmond in the late 1980s, followed by the founding of Amazon in the mid-1990s. Other tech employers who call Seattle home, or have a large presence in the region, include Meta, Google, T-Mobile, and Apple. Seattle scores very high in several tech-related categories: number of graduates, job concentration, labor pool size, talent migration, et al. Tech has been the main driver of office demand the past few years.

Metro Seattle is #1 in US in ranking of best cities for STEM jobs (WalletHub)

  • 1st – STEM employment growth
  • 1st – median wage growth for STEM workers
  • 2nd – % of workforce in STEM
  • 5th – quality of engineering universities
  • 8th – job openings for STEM graduates per capita

Highly Educated Workforce

  • UW ranked #59 in National Universities (US News list of Best Colleges 2022; 392 schools ranked)
  • State of Washington ranked #10, most educated states (World Population Review 2022)

Quality of Life

Despite the high cost of living in Seattle, tech is still attracted to the region due to the employers who have long been established here, as well as those who are expanding their footprint.

Metro Seattle was voted #19 Best Places to Live (US News list 2021, out of 150 global metro areas)

  • 7.9/10 job market
  • 6.5/10 quality of life
  • 7.4/10 net migration
  • 8.6/10 desirability

Seattle has a good mix of urban and suburban CRE (office skyscrapers in the downtown Seattle and Bellevue submarkets and sprawling office parks in the suburban submarkets).

Seattle has been in the process of revitalizing the downtown waterfront as well as expanding the light rail to make it easier for office workers to commute.

Seattle is also home to a thriving theater, dance, music, and visual arts scene, having been ranked #16 on a list of the nation’s most Art Vibrant communities (SMU Arts Vibrancy Index Report 2020).

Across Lake Washington, Bellevue has emerged as an alternative to Seattle, with Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta among those firms who have expanded to the Eastside.

Tech Real Estate

Tech submarkets include:

  • Lower Queen Anne/Lake Union – home to Amazon campus
  • Redmond – home to Microsoft campus
  • The Eastside (especially Bellevue CBD, 405 Corridor, and Redmond) have emerged as the tech-centric submarkets as of late

The Lower Queen Anne/Lake Union submarket, previously home to a large industrial inventory, became a hot market for office development beginning in the 2000s. Once Amazon relocated its HQ there in 2007, office construction exploded in the submarket.

Redmond has long been the home of Microsoft’s HQ campus. Microsoft relocated there from Bellevue in 1986 to expand its CRE footprint.

Bellevue CBD and the 405 Corridor has emerged as a tech submarket as of late due to explosive job growth, zoning changes, and several business-friendly policies put in place by civic leaders. 

Tech Cities: The Global Intersection of Talent and Real Estate
In this report we assess how tech cities are competing for business across key talent, real estate, and business environment metrics.
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